- Actual paper reading material
If you travel enough, this scenario will happen: You board a plane hoping for a peaceful time, and a chatty person sits next to you. Of course, you can choose a variety of strategies for avoiding conversation, but having something made of old-fashioned paper has the added bonus of giving your mind a rest from technology. In fact, according to the Egencia Traveller Report, 45 percent of business travelers read a book or magazine to avoid unwanted conversation.
- Hand sanitizer and vitamin C (for those nasty germs)
Stress and poor sleep combine with germ-infested airplanes, hotel rooms, and handshakes to wreak havoc on a business traveler’s immune system. A study by travelmath.com found that airplane tray tables, for example, have 2,155 colony-forming units (CFUs) per square inch. (For comparison, the flush buttons in the bathroom have only 265 CFU/square inch.) Avoiding germs altogether is probably not going to happen, so keep some hand sanitizer in your carry-on, as well as some sanitizing wipes for your tray table. Also, those fizzy vitamin C drinks are a great way to start your morning while on the road.
- Whatever makes your feet happy
If you are going to overpack anything, it should be items that make your feet happy. You might be stuck in a cramped waiting area next to the Cinnabon in Baltimore (BWI, by the way, is the most delayed airport in America), but you’ll feel like you are on a luxurious vacation if you have comfortable shoes and great socks.
- Actual cash money
It’s still hard to tip valets, bartenders, and housekeepers with bitcoin. No matter how tech-centric a business traveler you are, it’s always good to have at least some paper money. It’s important to show your appreciation to the people around you who help make your business travel more comfortable. As a rule of thumb, TripAdvisor says a common tip for housekeepers is $2-3 per night, or $5 in high-end hotels. Nothing says “thank you” like cash money.
- Good headphones
Whether it’s listening to music, podcasts, or conference calls, it’s important to have good, reliable headphones or earbuds.
- Extra battery power and all of your power cords and cables
For better or worse, business travelers are dependant on their devices. Having the extra cords and chargers can prevent a lot of frustration.
- A positive attitude
Many things can happen to make business travel more stressful, and most of these are out of your control. According to a study by HEC Paris and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the top stressors for business travelers are: delayed or lost bags, poor internet connections, medium- and long-haul economy flights, and airport delays or layovers. Upgrades, taking care of yourself with diet and exercise, and giving yourself plenty of time can help, but the best antidote for stress begins in your head. The Mayo Clinic writes that an optimistic attitude can lead to many health benefits, including a greater resistance to the common cold and better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.